Falafel shop providing jobs to refugees

Dear Za’atar Friends,

We are proud to say that over the course of the last three and a half years, Za’atar NGO has opened:

- a day-center for refugees and migrants which offers access to a lawyer, a psychologist, language classes, vocational training (fishing, tailoring, cooking and soon hairstylist)free hot lunch, trips around Athens, and much more!

- a shelter for up to 15 refugee women, alone or with their children, that we support in a holistic approach.

- Layali Shop: a boutique shop that is employing 14 refugees to sell their crafts (jewelry, clothes, art).

- Layali Salon: a beauty salon that has given the opportunity to 4 refugees, and counting, 

Project Layali's promotional video 


What’s next for Za’atar?

Our next goal is to open a small cafe-restaurant, Tastes of Damascus, in the center of Athens serving traditional Middle Eastern dishes such as falafel and other mezzes. 

Tastes of Damascus will be operated by refugees who successfully graduated from our Cooking Classes held at the Orange House, our community center, and it will always be under the supervision of professional and experienced managers.


About Za’atar

Za’atar NGO is a Greek registered NGO that was created in 2016 on the belief that refugees should not solely rely on the help they get from NGO’s and migration/asylum policies which offer temporary solutions creating situations of dependency. Instead, our philosophy is to focus on empowering refugees and migrants rather than pitying them.

Why a Falafel Shop?

One of our co-founders is Greek-Syrian, from a family that has owned falafel shops in Syria, Turkey, and Greece. One of their shops is still open and working in Idlib, Syria, while one was recently created by three cousins who came to Turkey as refugees. We would like to continue the family tradition of sharing our love for Middle Eastern cuisine, all while helping refugees to receive restaurant training, Greek language classes, along with their first real job in Athens. 

Permanently employed refugees will have a fixed income which allows them and their families to live self sufficient without the need to extend their hands to others. 
As employment to graduates from our Cooking Class will be held on a rotation basis, it will provide refugees/migrants with valuable on-the-ground job experience which helps uplift their cooking as well as managerial and communication skills by dealing with real customers.
Intensive Greek language classes are required to take part in the short-term employment opportunities; thus providing another vital skill to maintain a job, and life in Greece.

Local Integration and Intercultural Exchange
In addition to attending Greek language classes at the Orange House, refugees will have the opportunity to practice and improve their conversational skills on a day to day basis while dealing with customers.
Refugees will have the opportunity to introduce a side of their culture by sharing their traditional dishes with the community they live in.
Organizing cultural events such as live music or photography exhibitions will introduce and display the rich culture of countries such as Syria, Iran, or the Congo to locals who are eager to know more about refugees and their backgrounds.


What Will Your Donation Do?

Below we have listed most of the expenses we face in opening Tastes of Damascus falafel shop. Every penny of your generous donations will go directly to these expenses. 

€ 1,000 - Authorization license
€ 1,000 Shop improvements: all fees for the renovation and set-up of the space) 
€ 3,700 Kitchen & cooking equipment: cooking equipment (stove, industrial mixer, refrigerator, etc...)

= 5700 euros. 

We have already gathered some funds needed to get the ball rolling on this project, but we need more support to be able to make sure that this project will be successful. In every project, the first few months are always the most difficult. While we already have sourced potential institutional donors, we are now reaching out to you: can you help us make our dream of open Tastes of Damascus falafel shop happen?

Why support Za’atar NGO?

By continuing the Cooking Classes, expanding to it to be a comprehensive Restaurant Training Course, and opening Tastes of Damascus Falafel Shop, we would be making huge strides towards achieving our vision and objectives at Za’atar NGO; empowerment. 

We believe that Tastes of Damascus Project is a worthy cause that will do a great deal of good for many refugees and migrants, and even the Athenian community as a whole. We are excited to make this project a reality, leading to substantial benefits every step of the way.


Donations can also be send directly to our bank account (send us an email for more information) or through PayPal: ohmanager@zaatarngo.org

Should you have any questions, or wish to discuss this project further, please feel free to reach us out in the following ways: 

Contact Details: 

- contact@zaatarngo.org
- info@projectlayali.org

Our website and social media links:

Zaatar NGO's website 

Project Layali's website 

Zaatar NGO's Facebook 

Project Layali's Facebook

Donations (0)

  • Pierre ARRUAT 
    • €100 
    • 13 d
  • Anonymous 
    • €20 
    • 16 d
  • Anonymous 
    • €30 
    • 1 mo
  • Antonis Manousis 
    • €20 
    • 1 mo
  • Hermine Savary 
    • €30 
    • 1 mo
See all


Marine Liakis 
Paris, France
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